Purportedly, the world’s most expensive consultant bills out at $120,000 (USD) per day. That’s $15,000 per hour or $250 per minute… and he is fully booked. He studied clarinet at the Julliard School of Music, dropped out of Columbia University and wrote a 576 page best-selling book while soaking in a bathtub.
So who commands $250 per minute for their time and why do people line up to pay it? For the answer we will need to look at Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve.
In my blog post “Being in demand – How to make it happen” I talk about the importance of track record. Let’s look at Alan Greenspan’s.
- 5 years as Economic Analyst at The National Industrial Conference Board
- 33 years as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
- 3 years as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Gerald Ford
- 2 years as Director of the Council on Foreign Relations
- Corporate director for :
- Capital City/ABC Networks
- General Foods
- JP Morgan Chase
- Mobil Corporation
- Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom
- Awarded title of Commander of the French Legion of Honor
- Awarded title Knight Commander of the British Empire
To summarize his track record; he has guided fiscal policy for the world’s largest economy successfully across multiple decades, across multiple political spectrums engaging and influencing monetary policy throughout the world through boom cycles and recessions. He has also provided executive guidance to some of the largest global companies in manufacturing, finance and consumer products.
So what can Alan Greenspan tell you in 60 seconds that is worth $250?
For that we need to look at his specialized skill set and knowledge. In my blog post “What’s your right rate?” it reinforces that specialization is another key factor that drives value and consequently improvement in billable rate.
Alan Greenspan is a macro-economist. He is not an accountant, nor an investment banker , nor a politician nor a derivatives trader. He has a Bachelors degrees in economics, a Masters degree in economics and a Doctorate degree in economics from NYU.
As an economist with the Industrial Conference Board he focused his skills on the manufacturing sector, the impacts of international tariff trade and tax policy. He then started his own company Townsend & Greenspan, which provided for twenty years, consulting to corporations and government agencies on macro-economic decisions, risk and impact. This followed by 3 decades at the helm of the Federal Reserve. The key point is that Alan Greenspan very likely has more specialized knowledge in the actual real-life application of economic policy than anyone else on the planet. That is why, what he can tell you in 60 seconds is worth $250, because very likely you won’t hear it anywhere else and probability of that information he gives you being right is very, very high.
Now in the IT world would there be anyone who commands $120,000 per day for consulting?
Yup. There is a consultant who was the key architect (now retired) of one of the major trading systems that has a $480,000 5 year retainer to be on-call if they have an outage. The maximum number of days service required under the retainer is 4. ($120,000 per day) You only get that type of contract with track record and specialization to create value to the client.